Premier League

It may only be the beginning of June, but several Premier League clubs are well on their way to their desired squad list for next season. This is of course mainly due to the acquisition of players from near and far, yet the released lists are quickly announcing themselves up and down the country. You rarely miss a big money move in the summer transfer window, but it’s the end-of-contract switches and the free transfers that often go unnoticed.

Where better to begin than with former West Brom CAPTAIN Darren Fletcher of all people, who somehow sneaked a free transfer to Stoke. Who knew?! The release of Joey Barton by Burnley certainly stole the spotlight at the end of May after his betting saga, but did you know that winger Michael Kightly got the boot, even when out-of-contract 49-year-old Paul Robinson maintains talks with the club?

Middlesbrough are perhaps the real losers yet again as they lost any hope of bouncing back to the top flight as goalkeepers Victor Valdes and Brad Guzan are both set to leave the club, with the latter announcing his transfer in January this year, confirming that he did indeed give up at that moment in time as his side slumped to a shockingly bad end to the season. It gets from bad to worse as they no longer have loan forward Alvaro Negredo at the helm, a striker whose season was mildly better than that of Marvin Emnes, as the Swansea forward also departs the Premier League. His counterpart Gerhard Tremmel is also on his way, similarly resembling Stoke’s fifth choice keeper Shay Given, who will no doubt find a lovely wee seat on the bench of Huddersfield or West Brom.

Everybody saw the big names flooding out of Manchester City as Pep continues his revolution, but it was West Ham who unquestionably gained the most as they snapped up Pablo Zabaleta, who will undoubtedly slot straight into the side as a direct replacement for Alvaro Arbeloa, who has been released after about 0.3 minutes of game time in London. Staying in the capital and the legend that is Yaya Sanogo is the main man on Arsenal’s released list, what a guy.

Hull City’s list of players returning to their parent club isn’t great reading for fans as, just after losing their manager, they lost basically all the men that nearly kept them up this season. Omar Elabdellaoui, Lazar Markovic, Dieumerci Mbokani, Oumar Niasse, Alfred N’Diaye and Andrea Ranocchia all made the agonising painful list. Alex Bruce meanwhile was their only senior released player, and Curtis Davies jumped ship pretty quickly as he sealed a move to Derby pretty much the day after his latest Premier League campaign ended.

The horrid ordeal that these heartbroken players go through will continue throughout the summer, and I’ll be on hand to fill you in on what you’ve missed as you continue enjoying your summer as I keep a close eye on these fascinating switcheroos.